Regional Names

Afrikaans: Olifant French: Élephant
German: Elefant Portuguese: Elefante
Nama: ╪Khoab Shangaan: Ndlopfu
Sotho: Tlou Spanish: Elefante
Shona: Nzhou Swahili: Tembo
Tswana: Tlou Xhosa: iNdlovu
Zulu: iNdlovu
Average Body Dimensions Trophy Dimensions
Average male mass: 12,500 lb (5670 kg) Rowland Ward Minimum: 60 lb (27 kg) Method-16
Average shoulder height 11.8’ (3,6m) Rowland Ward Record: 226 – 214 lb (102,5 – 97,1 kg)
Spoor size: front 19.7” (500mm) SCI Minimum (Rifle): 90 / SCI Record (Bow): 60 Method-19
20.5” (520mm) SCI Record (Rifle): 302 / SCI Record (Bow) –


Throughout Africa south of the Sahara desert except in Central and West Africa jungles inhabited by the forst elephant. Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, CAR, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Elephant are highly social animals that live in small family herds that comprise an older cow matriarch and her offspring, with larger groups made up of related cows and their young of different ages. Groups may periodically converge into temporary massive herds. Adult bulls move freely amongst the herds testing females for breeding readiness, but mostly spend their time alone or with other bulls. Upon reaching puberty young bulls leave the family groups to either join bachelor herds or another bull until unable to compete for mating rights, when they generally adopt a solitary existence.

Hunting tips

Good tusks are at least equal to ear length. Also consider tusk thickness before deciding which animal to take. Elephant can be found by scouting from high ground or taking up its spoor from a specific point such as a known watering hole. Elephant are diurnal and nocturnal, but during hot spells they tend to rest from mid-morning to mid-afternoon and feed during the cooler hours of the night.

Sexual Dimorphism

Both sexes carry tusks. Female tusks rarely exceed 20 lb (9 kg) per tusk.

Habitat & Food

Elephant are very adaptable and exhibit a wide habitat tolerance ranging from coastal, montane, forest, savannah, swamp and semi-desert habitats provided and adequate quantity and quality of food and water is available. Grass is most important during the wet seasons, whilst more woody and herbaceous plant material is consumed during the dry season. They also eat fruits such as marula.

Rifle and Cartridge Recommendations

Bolt Actions: When backed-up by a PH any rifle design can be used. When hunting alone a controlled feed design as a Dakota M-76, Enfield P-14/Mod-17, Kimber Caprivi, Mauser M-98, Montana 1999, Springfield M-1903, Ruger M-77 RSM or Hawkeye, or Winchester Safari should be considered.

Double Rifles: Boxlock or sidelock. It is immaterial in modern trophy hunting situations whether the rifle has ejectors or not.

Single Shot Rifles: Not recommended at all.

Bullets: In alphabetic not preferred order. The South African made Dzombo, GS Cusom FN, Peregrine FN solids, or the foreign Barnes solid, the North Fork Premium Flat Cup-point solid, or the Woodleigh/Speer hydro-dynamically (not static) stabilised monometal bullet. Cartridges: Large (≥ .400” bore) and Super Bore (≥ .465”) are required. The various .375’s can be used where legal and if the hunter is more accurate with these than larger calibres. Do not go overbore on power unless very used to such cartridges as it affects hunter accuracy and between shot recovery time.

Typical Cartridges:

.375 H&H Magnum 300-gr bullets
.375 Ruger 300-gr bullets
.378 Weatherby Magnum 300-gr bullets
.450/400 400-gr bullets
.400 H&H Belted Magnum 400-gr bullets
.500/416 Krieghoff 400-gr bullets
.416 Ruger 400-gr bullets
.416 Rigby 400-gr bullets
.404 Jeffery 400-gr bullets
.425 Westley Richards 410-gr bullets
.450 No.2 480-gr bullets
.458 Lott 480-gr bullets
.458 African 500-gr bullets
.450 Rigby Rimless 550-gr bullets
.460 Weatherby Magnum 550-gr bullets
.500/465 H&H NE 480-gr bullets
.470 NE 500-gr bullets
.505 Magnum Gibbs 525-gr bullets
.500 NE 3” 570-gr bullets
.500 Jeffery 535-gr bullets
.577 NE 570-gr bullets
.585 Nyati 570-gr bullets

* Read more in African Medium Bore Cartridges by Pierre van der Walt